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The 9th International Anti-Corruption Conference

The Papers

SPPD Project RAF/99/004
Public Service Ethics in Africa


The United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN/DESA), Division of Public Economics and Public Administration (DPEPA) will implement on behalf of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Regional Bureau for Africa (RBA) the above-mentioned project. The objective of this project is to assist governments in Africa, and their development partners, to improve the management of ethics and conduct in the public service through surveying existing policies and programmes. A comparative report and database of regional issues and practices will be prepared, which can serve as a basis to introduce or improve ethics policies and programmes and assist in making recommendations and funding decision for governments, donors, and the wider public. The study will survey ten countries from a pool of 15: Botswana, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Gabon, Ghana, Kenya, Madagascar, Mauritania, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, Uganda, and Zimbabwe.

Project Steering Group

A Project Steering Group (PSG) will guide the research process through ensuring the validity and reliability of the data gathered and to increase the participation of regional and national stakeholders. Its membership includes representatives from the UN, UNDP, and a number of regional organisations.

Conceptual Framework

For the conceptual framework, UN/DESA/DPEPA will use a conceptual tool, an "ethics infrastructure", which is loosely based on an OECD study and constructed for the African context. As described in the table below, an ethics infrastructure is composed of mutually reinforcing functions and elements to achieve the necessary coherence and synergy to support a public sector environment to encourage high standards of behaviour.

FunctionsElementsSurvey Issues
  • commitment from political leadership
  • statements of values and legal standards
  • training
  • communication campaigns
  • code of conduct exercises
  • conflict-of-interest disclosures
  • post-employment restrictions
  • induction/ongoing training
  • co-ordination by special body or central management agency
  • public sector work conditions
  • administrative policies and practices
  • independent ethics or anti-corruption agencies or administrative units
  • pay levels, career structures, and other incentives
  • safeguards in contracting and procurement, etc.
  • legal enforcement framework
  • effective accountability mechanisms
  • public involvement
  • laws enabling independent investigations and prosecutions (criminal codes, anti-corruption, civil service, and ethics)
  • reporting requirements and performance contracts and evaluations
  • private sector codes of conduct, civil society watchdogs, professional associations and trade unions

Data Collection

The UN will recruit national consultants, in co-operation with UNDP country offices involved. The national consultants will be trained in using the survey interview schedule and in approaching sources of information. They will be required to complete the questionnaire, with the support and back up from the UN. The completed surveys will be collected and compared. The survey results, with additional information from relevant literature and other external sources of validation, will serve as the base for the final report and database.

Dissemination of Findings

In order to ensure that the results of the study will be conducive to action at the national level, an event will be held in the region to launch the final report and data base and also to encourage follow-up initiatives. Representatives of participating governments, national consultants who have been involved at the country level, the PSG, and other invited experts will examine the report and look for "benchmarks" or common standards to promote ethics and combat corruption in the public service in Africa. In addition, as the Internet is fast becoming available in Africa, the posting of study results on a special or the UNDP site will be considered.

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